In part an effort to meet the needs of an increasing Muslim population in lower Manhattan, plans are underway for a mosque to be built next to ground zero. Due to a lack of existing Islamic prayer spaces in the area, the Tribeca Mosque has had to hold three evening prayer services every Friday in order to meet the growing demand. Of course, there is also a symbolic aspect to building a mosque on a vacant Park Place property, the former site of a Burlington Coat Factory damaged in the September 11 attacks.
“We decided we wanted to look at the legacy of 9/11 and do something positive,” Daisy Kahn, executive director of the American Society for Muslim Advancement, said, explaining that her group represents moderate Muslims who want “to reverse the trend of extremism and the kind of ideology that the extremists are spreading.”
Kahn said the project, called the Cordoba House, is not contingent on any approvals — and, after a public discussion tonight, her group will focus on raising the $100 million needed for the project, in hopes of having the mosque ready in three years. Though she hasn’t heard any “significant opposition” to the plans yet, she’s aware of the potential qualms some might have with placing a mosque next to the World Trade Center site: “I am sure that there will be some people who are a little concerned.”
Near Ground Zero, a Mosque Moves In and Meets the Neighbors [Metropolis/WSJ]